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bear by san

March 2017



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code monkey think maybe manager want to write goddamned login page himself.

Okay. You like Jonathan Coulton? You like Guitar Hero?

Watch this:


(Yeah, I'm months behind the curve on this one. Sue me.)

For a discussion of what this is, and what its implications are, I offer you a blog entry on Corrugated Media. (So far, pretty much the only blog entry on Corrugated Media, but there you go.)

From that blog:

I managed to track down the creator of this custom track, Andy Sage,who gets lots of points from me not only for his selection in music,but for how he went about this process. He secured permission fromCoulton before posting the track, despite the source materials beingfreely available in a remix contest, and all of Coulton’s music beingunder a license he was not breaking. Sage was under no legal obligationto contact Coulton and make sure he was cool with this, but he did soanyway, and that is the kind of attitude that makes this sort oflicense and culture really work. Tying this back to why I think thisstory is so cool is the fact that he was ABLE to contact Jonathan to doso. Try doing that with Bono.

Okay, and that's the thing right now. The internet is not just going to change the nature of entertainment. It's already changed it. Broadcast media will probably never go away--god knows some nights I don't want the emotional commitment of anything more interactive than a cooking show. But the internets are interactive and remixive and discursive, and moreover, you can walk right up to me and talk to me on them. (And there are any number of other entertainers who have similar web presences, with greater or lesser degrees of transparency. If I really needed to, for any reason, I know where to find musicians, television producers, actors, writers, game designers, programmers, essayists, artists, graphic designers, architects--and talk to them in person.

The reason that works, of course, is because the celebrities (loosely so termed) that one knows on the internet are suddenly real people. They're not constructs anymore. Jonathan Coulton isn't a construct to me, the way Bono (to use the example quoted above) is. Jonathan Coulton is some guy on the internets, whose work I really like. Tom Smith (filkertom) used to be a construct to me: I only knew his work through recordings, and I was a big fan. And yanno, then I met him online and at Penguicon, and now he's just some super-talented guy I know, who is also funny. Wil Wheaton is the classic example of this: I keep forgetting he's also a talented actor, because I think of him as one of the best bloggers on my daily information rounds.

And you know what? I like that. I don't want to be a construct. I want to be some guy you know on the internets who tells stories. Who possibly you pay to tell you stories, much the same way I have friends I pay for web hosting or web design or massages. Because it's their professional skill.

One of the weird things about being an entertainer is that people who you don't know know you. And one of the cool things about the internet is that it's bringing back the village. We used to know our baker, our barber, our blacksmith. Now, we can know our writers, our musicians, our crazy-ass remix artists.

But fame, the kind of fame that separates famous people from the hoi polloi, as it were, is a funny thing. Not only does it turn the famous person into a construct, it turns them into a slate that the fan can project all sorts of things into. How often have you gotten disappointed at a celebrity because her political views weren't what you thought they should be? I know I have. And damn, you know. Why do I think I get to do that? I don't pay Claudia Black to have her politics match mine. I pay her to kick ass in tight pants. Let's be honest here.

But that's the thing: that's this weird psychological trick of displacement and transference, where you take somebody you don't know and you attach all this emotion to them. And it's harder to do that with somebody who's just this guy you know on the internets than somebody who is a princess in a tower.

Does it have a potential to be scary? Sure. Absolutely. But on another level, I think we may be looking at the end of reputation by fame, and the birth of a different kind of reputation. Because while there are people who want that mystique, that megastar distance, that princess in a tower thing... there's also a lot of people who want to be able to drop Jonathan Coulton an email and say, "Hey, can I remix "Code Monkey?"

And eventually, we may be looking at a system where the President is some guy I know, who I pay to run the country.


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I agree completely. It's as though the Internet is just a gigantic sf convention. Fandom and prodom have always pretty much been subsets of each other, and now that model is seeping out to the rest of the world.
Breaking news! *g*
I've been wondering about that--the access and the remake of social structure. (Been wondering about that for some years, actually.) So far I haven't been convinced that we'll reach the "knowing the President as some guy who I pay to run the country" is because of the limits we've come up against, over and over (I'm now refering back to the history of the notion of privacy, right down to how houses were reconstructed radically) and that is, we still only have X minutes in the day, and X days in our lives. The President is still going to be circled with rings of gatekeepers, not just the physical ones keeping Josephina Blow from leaving her tour of Washington DC and hopping up the stairs at the White House to ask the President a question about gramma's social security problems.

Gatekeepers end up preserving that precious time, and the more in demand someone is, the more likely they will withdraw behind rings of invisible gatekeepers pretty much the same way the old everyone-in-one-space castles gave way to the long corridors and upwards levels before you got access to the privy chambers.
Yup. Which is, of course, the problem.

However, I can't help but think that in five, ten years, the guy who doesn't have those gatekeepers--or who comes out from behind them occasionally--is going to have a demogogic (sp?) advantage over the guy who doesn't.

That may be my town-meeting Yankee self talking. But people will vote for people whose hands they have shook.

And yanno, Al Gore sends me these emails? And I know he wants something from me.

But I still think he's a pretty okay guy.
And eventually, we may be looking at a system where the President is some guy I know, who I pay to run the country.

wildturkeyparty - I wanted to *be* that guy, but the startup costs are prohibitive. :-/
Well, some of my internet friends are fictional, and I guess they might be fake friends.

But I have had people I know only over the internet invite me to their house. I've written stories with them. If a correspondent isn't a real friend, I don't know what is.

Once upon a time, I thought all writers were dead. Glad that turned out not to be so.
As I was summing up my "have read" list for last year, I've noticed that 90% of books I bought without a friend's recommendation have been by the writers whose blogs I read.

My brain goes: "Oh look, here's a book by that chick I know from the internet. Let's check out what her writing is like."

I like reading like that.
I like writing like that. ;-)
moreover, you can walk right up to me and talk to me on them.

Yes, but can I hit you up for spare change?
Dude. I'm a writer. Spare change?
I have been known to say that! "There's this person I know on the Internet who..."

The looks have been getting less strange as the years roll by.
Haha, yes. Exactly that.
I've noticed it with webcomic artists versus print comic artists. The barrier's a lot lower with webcomic artists, since most of them are willing to talk to you about their work, or mention an interesting story about their kids, or something. As a result, it seems to be a lot less intimidating to drop, say, Howard Tayler, an email saying that you liked his comic (and/or asking if he wanted to see fanart you drew, and/or asking a question about the latest story arc) than, say, Alan Moore.
I want to be some guy you know on the internets who tells stories. Who possibly you pay to tell you stories, much the same way I have friends I pay for web hosting or web design or massages. Because it's their professional skill.

*points to icon*

I have nothing profound to say about this, because the Muppets have already said it for me. (As is so often the case, really.)
Anything the muppets can't say for you doesn't need to be said.

(Kermit drinking milk.)
"Think about this for a minute."
Funny, we were just talking about this the other day in a slightly different context (in realspace in a bookstore cafe). My friend says that virtual reality can't possibly be an even exchange with physical reality because it's too important to experience things in Real Life(tm). My spice says that it's not going to be very long until we can't tell VR from RL and VR is going to be Just As Good.

When I "meet" someone on the internets it know them as much as I know anyone I see face to face and lots of times I like them as much or more because the conversation we have is less noisy.

coulton and wheaton and you and sarah are more than just famous people because I can talk to you (but tom smith is still more than just some guy with talent...he's a freakin' genius and i am still a groupie.)
I second the vote for filkertom's genius.

Best lyrics anywhere.
I'm a poster child for "how the Internet can shape a life" ... without the Internet I wouldn't have my spouse, my job, my house (either the one we're about to leave or the one we're going to), nor would I have 99% of the friends I do. (I've been at this online thing for *gulp* almost 20 years, so I guess the effects add up. :)

You're absolutely right about how the Internet is changing the relationship between entertainers and their fans. The Independent music industry couldn't exist without the Net, for one thing. And it makes all sorts of things possible that just wouldn't happen otherwise. (Real-world example: I got to go to Japan last month b/c an ex-pat promoter in Osaka contacted my Artiste via MySpace and invited her to come over and do a tour.)

Of course, the flip side of this is when someone corresponds with their favorite musician/writer/artist/etc. online, and a line gets crossed and a sort of stalking situation crops up. When you're a touring musician, this can present an issue when your tour schedule includes the town your virtual stalker lives in ... (we're dealing with this right now, and I'm not exactly sure how that's gonna pan out).


Of course, even if you do the tower princess thing, you can wind up with stalkers.

Possibly more so, because the projection is easier.
I know. *g* It's kind of magic, isn't it?

I'm using it as a tag for discussions of how memes intersect and develop through the media of the internet.

Which is the sort of thing that seems perfectly obvious to me, and makes no sense to anybody else.
This is what I love about the internet.

(Also, you being not only a good writer, but "that author whose livejournal I read" went far to propelling to the "buy her books as soon as they come out" list.)
Well, thank you! *g* (and the cat thanks you. well, actually, right now she is sitting between the sofa and the bookcase, staring at me balefully to let me know I have FAILED her. but eventually, she'll thank you.)
Yes! In terms of community, I think of the blogging/journaling function of the internet as what's at the bottom of Pandora's industrial and technological revolutions box.

Not that the ability to get away from communities at times is a bad thing in itself.

But what you say about who becomes our community members--the grocer replaced by the working artist of our choice--is really interesting. It's what I used to dream about and why I love this. But where will the people lacking communication skills or not having any particular gifts of intelligence or creativity get a mended community though?


I dunno. Many of the mailing lists I am on have plenty of people who can't seem to find their shift key, and they get along all right.

On the internet, there really is someone for everyone.
Interesting. I think the internet saved my sanity to be honest. When I was low and lonely and unable to get out of the house to talk to people over the age of 5 due to a partner working shifts, I made friends online. And as with offline friends, some of those have turned out to be good friendships, some were friends for a season and some were not friends at all - but my life has been enriched by the experience.

I don't think, if I'm honest, I would have come across you as a writer, had it not been for CM and your LJ. But I'm very glad I did - reading the books written by someone I know on the internets and getting some insight into the process of their creation has made the reading experience quite a different one. I'll stop rambling now - but I'll just add that I've nearly finished Dust and have enjoyed it very much.
I've really enjoyed meeting you, too.

And yes. The internet saved my sanity as well, when I was trapped in Las Vegas. Or Hell, as I like to fondly call it.
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